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How to Write an Argumentative Essay

October 17, 2017 Types of essays
How to Write an Argumentative Essay

You and your friend are in a debate about the death penalty. One of you believes that it should be abolished worldwide and isn't a suitable punishment for any unlawful act. The other believes that there are situations in which the act committed can't be justified by jail time, and the only feasible solution is to warrant the death penalty. Now you two, the good friends you that you are will not let this go and are ready to both write argumentative essays about this topic. However, there are some things you should know before you begin sculpting your argument.


Argumentative Essay vs. Persuasive Essay

Many people are not aware, but there is a distinct difference between these two. Though the goal of both essays is to prove that their Point of View carries more weight, the methods in which they do it vary. Argumentative essays use logic, facts, and reasoning to determine the victor. Persuasive Essays tend to apply moral reasoning and emotional influence rather than facts.

In the case of the death penalty, it's very important to be able to differentiate between these two. Emotional arguments such as sympathy, religious points, and overall human ethics should be avoided. Since we are talking about an argumentative essay and not a persuasive one, the focus on logic and reasoning must be one-dimensional.

Finding out the purpose:

The main purpose of an argumentative essay is to defend one side of an argument using logic, facts, statistics, and research. This involves expanded research covering all aspects of the theme and gathering all required information on all related points of view.
This type of essay also presents your audience an excellent summary of the issue. But despite all of this, the goal is to indicate your point of view and show why it is the best option over others.

Engage yourself

Before writing an argumentative essay, there is one important thing that you should know. It is crucially important to fully engage yourself in the topic you will write.

Define the Outcome

The main reason why somebody is writing an argumentative essay is to attempt to persuade or sway another person or maybe a group of people in your rightness in a certain theme. As you are moving forward in your writing process, try to keep in mind your conceived outcome.

Selecting a Topic

Argumentative Essay Topics Now, let’s get to one of the most controversial parts of writing - selecting a topic.
If you don’t want to spend hours and hours racking your brain, read our detailed step by step instruction to choose the most suitable topic.

Step 1. Write about what you know. This should be clear, but nevertheless, you should have some background knowledge about a topic before you begin writing an essay.

Step 2. Find a topic that you are well versed in This means that there might be some topics accustomed to you. This will save you time, so you can spend less time thinking and more time writing.

Step 3. Pick something that you are obsessed with. It’s not a must, but if you care about your topic, it will be resembled in your writing. Even if it’s not your obsession, you should remember one of the most important rules of writing: your readers never pays more attention to your topic than you do.

Step 4. Make sure that your topic is something specific. When you are searching for a good topic, try to avoid something super broad and boring, such as migration of snow geese, or illegality of abortion. All in all, you should have a clear statement to argue.

Is animal testing as necessary as we make it out to be?
Do people who commit gruesome crimes deserve the death penalty?
Do immigrants deserve more rights?
Is college as important as society makes us believe?
Is it important to eliminate bias from journalists work?

Sample Topics

  • Is animal testing as necessary as we make it out to be?
  • Do people who commit gruesome crimes deserve the death penalty?
  • Do immigrants deserve more rights?
  • Is college as important as society makes us believe?
  • Is it important to eliminate bias from journalists work?

Constructing an argument

Once you have finished, puzzle over which topic to choose you need to move forward and construct an argument for your argumentative essay.

Developing an Appropriate Title

Many students come up with the question: “What does a great title look like?”. Let’s start from the point that almost every time titles are written at the end of the writing process. This means that at first, you need to write an essay and then create a title to match your writing.

Create a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is a concise idea written in one sentence that sums up your point of view on the issue. The thesis is usually written at the end of the introductory paragraph.

TIPS:

  • It should be as clear as possible
  • Write your thesis in one-two sentences focusing on the main idea of your writing
  • The thesis should present the main argument of your writing
  • Write the thesis in the introduction
  • It must reveal what position you are going to take in relation to your theme

Learn how to write a killing THESIS

Outline

Generally speaking, the argumentative essay follows the traditional style of most writing assignments. This means that it starts out with an intro, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each individual section plays a particular role in the entire structure of the paper.

Introduction

Just like the persuasive essay, the format of the introduction practically carries it through the same steps:

Hook: The main purpose of the hook as per usual is to introduce the reader in an entertaining and enlightening fashion about the topic. This can be something along the lines of a rhetorical question, an interesting statement, or some kind of shocking fact!Since the whole purpose is to grab the reader's attention, create one most suitable for your argumentative essay. For example:

  • Can we say that ONE individual's life is more valuable than another's?
  • Not only does this make the reader start to think about the point you created, but it also intrigues him as to where you will head form this point, hooking him onto your argumentative essay like a fish!

Brief Intro and Thesis: After you have initially grabbed the attention of your reader, it's time to start pulling him deeper into the argument. Start introducing facts from history or just generally valuable points. These are meant to inform the reader in more detail about the argument at hand. Make sure that these few sentences are somehow relevant to the topic!

The thesis statement comes at the end of your introductory paragraph and is the heart of your essay. Everything that is written in your essay is used to support this statement. So, how exactly do you form the thesis statement? Simple, just follow a few basic guidelines:

  • This is a statement, not a question. Make sure to phrase it regarding a fact instead of an uncertain idea.
  • This sentence should make some kind of definitive statement. It should be an analyzed opinion created by the writer to prove some fact, using supported research as proof.
  • This shouldn't be some simple statement that is obvious. It should be unique and original, though that hasn't really received much attention and research. That's why an entire argumentative essay is supposed to be written around it. In other words, this shouldn't be a question that can be answered in one sentence. For example: "The death penalty allows a ruling body to economically decide that a certain individuals life which caused more harm than good is a life worth ending to stop the economic bleeding of a nation."

Read more about how to write a great INTRODUCTION

Body Paragraph(s)

Depending on your argument, the number of body paragraphs that you have will vary. If the argument is something that can be proved and explained in a few critical points, then obviously your essay will be shorter in length. However, if this is a highly unique opinion or one that can be countered, more research and analysis should be put into your argumentative essay, thus increasing its length. Let's break down each body paragraph into segments.

Topic Sentence: The purpose of this sentence is to introduce the reader as to what your specific argumentative point will be about. It shouldn't explain anything, rather be a coherent sentence that makes your point clear and understandable.

Example: The death penalty is an economically efficient way to get rid of humans who don't benefit society.

Sounds harsh right? Get used to it; argumentative essays are very cold-blooded and straight to the point. As explained before, they disregard emotions and generally deal with cold hard facts!

Analysis of The Main Argument: This is the "WHY" of your topic sentence. After briefly explaining your main point, the next step is to portray its authenticity for the readers to see what exactly you are getting at. This will be either one or two sentences depending on how much information you use to support it.

Example: The annual incarceration per inmate in the US is $31,286. Considering the fact that this individual also caused other financial damage without contributing towards the well-being of a nation, he is a huge detriment to any society and thus should be given the death penalty!

Yes, these statements may sound morally disgusting and offensive, but once again, that is what the argumentative essay is all about! Cold, hard facts!

Revealing Supportive Evidence: Obviously, any analysis is incomplete without some sort of backup evidence. The purpose of this sentence is to purely support your main argument with real PROOF of your statement. This mainly strengthens its authenticity!

Example: According to the state of New York, the average price of an incarcerated prisoner is 60,000 per year! What is the purpose of this when this individual is living a pointless life, rotting away without benefiting society!

This statement is giving a definitive and logical reason as to why the analyzed statement holds weight!

Outperforming the counterargument: For every "ying", there is a "yang". Every argument has a counter-argument, and without recognizing its existence, you are weakening the sophistication of your argument! The purpose of this sentence is to recognize the counter-argument, and at the same time, show why your side holds more weight!

Example: It is true that people deserve second chances. However, economically speaking, the probability of this supposed second chance being an overall success is less than ideal. Taking a risk in this case only prolongs the economic bleeding of the nation!

As you can see, I presented a respectable counter-argument that people will consider. However using rational thinking and logical situational analysis, I explained why our argument holds more weight!

Concluding Sentence: After proving your side and defeating the opposing side, it is time to make a finishing statement. There is no particularly new novelty in this sentence, but instead a mere reconfirmation of proven points. You are wrapping the entirety of your paragraph in one assertive sentence!

Example: To conclude, it would be an overall economically ridiculous decision to keep the life of a fellow human who has cost more than produced!

Short, sweet and to the point!

Conclusion

The last part of the argumentative essay is the conclusion, in which all that is necessary is to make some restatements as well as an overall concluding statement. Let's do a quick breakdown!

  • Restatement of Thesis: Fairly self-explanatory, this step requires you to rephrase your main argument in an assertive and confident manner. You shouldn't introduce any new information.
    • Example: Thanks to the death penalty, the ruling government can now limit their economic losses from individuals who have high cost their nation in wealth and health!
  • Restatement of Key Points: Remember those pillars that strengthened the life of your thesis? Well, now it is time to accredit them for their valuable efforts! Take the key arguments you included in your bodies and rephrase them for increased assertiveness.
  • Overall Concluding Statement: If you are looking for the most effective method to sum up an essay, then this would be the path to take. Make a statement that signifies the importance of your thesis, as well as the repercussions that, in theory, could come up from not considering this well-thought-out point! This adds some real life validation to your argument as well as gives the essay an overall strong appeal!
    • Example: Being economically efficient in a nation with a struggling financial situation is crucial in keeping it above water. By getting rid of the death penalty, we are severely impacting the nation's capital health and only prolonging the virus of inhumane actions not being put to justice!

Follow the link to learn more about How To Create A Winning Outline

Researching and sources

Take some time researching your subject.

You can go to the library or surf the web for materials related to your topic. It is really important to look for sources that cover all views of the issue because the purpose of this kind of essay is to provide an excellent overview of all aspects of the topic. Collecting evidence and materials that supports both your argument and the counterargument will make your essay much more forceful

TIPS:

  • Pick sources that are reputable with up-to-date information.
  • If required, use quotes that support your point of view; it will make your essay more credible
  • Cite sources. If you won’t do this then it will be a form of plagiarism because you are not giving credit to the people whose ideas you are using in your paper.

Post-writing tips

  • Take a break in between writing sessions as you are not the terminator. If you spend a whole day writing your essay you might get so wrapped up that it's easy to skip over obvious errors and mistakes. Rest for at least a few hours and get back to it with fresh eyes. It will help you notice the errors you previously ignored.
  • Fix your grammar: Troubles with grammar will make your paper look clumsy and unprofessional.
  • Check formatting dilemmas: Make sure that thought in your writing flows eloquently, like a hot knife through butter.



Argumentative Essay Example

General Tips

  • Reason Trumps Emotion: Since we are writing an argumentative essay, it is crucially important to remember that we must fixate our points towards rational reasoning. Save the emotions for someone who cares!
  • Include Counterarguments: Many writers forget this step, and this definitely harms their rate of success. A supported argument without a considered counterargument is half as strong, so don't forget to explain why your argument carries more weight!
  • Get outside peer editing: Just because your points make sense to you, doesn't mean that the readers will automatically understand your reasoning. Get some peer editing from a friend who can validate the logic behind your argument!

Some Good Examples

Argumentative Essay Example

Argumentative Essay Example

Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team

Whether you’re writing an essay for AP English, for other college courses, or for anything else in life, one thing to focus on in this type of essay is an argument. Indeed, an argumentative essay teaches how to structure and build a strong claim. The most important part of this essay is the introduction.

My advice is to spend a lot of time on that first paragraph. Make sure you give context by reviewing the topic in a general way and then elaborate on its importance. The readers should care about the issue as much as you do. Put your thesis statement last, as it will leave the most lasting impression. The thesis statement should be appropriate to your assignment, but typically (unless you’re writing a novel) keep the focus clear and precise. Simply put, without a good introduction, it will be near impossible to compose an excellent essay. For the conclusion, make sure to synthesize the information presented in the body of the essay, restate why the topic is important, review the most important points and your thesis.

Tutor Alex, essay writer

Essay Writing Help

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